Wednesday, January 2, 2013

#CXWorlds Super Cross Sunday February 3rd

European Guide to Ohio Valley
Louisville isn’t Brussels.  Cincinnati isn’t Zolder.  The elderly Belgian men in overcoats and wool driving caps hanging over the tape shaking a fist aren’t coming to Louisville.  As much as supporters may like to deport him, the young man who threw the beer at Sven doesn’t have a plane ticket.  Frites aren’t the same as French fries.  While we may see a Dirk Hofman Motorhomes sign poke above the crowd, a rowdy bunch of Netherlanders in orange and a Lion of Flanders flag or two, the majority of fans lining the entry to “The Green Monster” at the Cyclocross World Championships in Louisville on Super Bowl Cross Sunday will be mostly bike racers and their families from Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana.  Sure, some Masters die-hards from the North East, a few Yoopers from Michigan, a handful of flatlanders and contingents from Colorado and North Carolina will find a corner of the course to call home.  For the most part however, the crowd will be the Ohio valley cycling crowd: OVCX racers, the mountain bikers, the roadies, and the century fueled members of the Cincinnati and Bluegrass Cycling clubs.  Louisville Worlds is what we make it.

Masters Worlds Finish 2012
We’ve all wondered how it would be to see a cross race in Belgium with a cacophony of languages drowning our ears, but that sound will be drawled out in Louisville.  About the only thing that will be the same is the sport, the cowbells and seeing your breath in the air.  On the bright side, you won’t have to cock your head sideways to read a confusing Flemish food truck menu.  You won’t need to bring Euros.  You can use Kentucky dollars.  Here in the Ohio Valley, in your Carhartt overalls, North Face Jacket and Hunter boots, you’ll be the scene.  The crowd on “Rachel’s Drop” isn’t going to be six people deep unless you pack the kids in your Caravan.  And by Caravan, we mean mini-van, not camper.  I’m not counting on Belgian waffles.  I’ll likely be armed with a concealed thermos of Cincinnati chili.  Of course, there may or may not be a flask of Bourbon tucked into a chest pocket.  If you dare to poach some free advertising, believe it or not the local motor home dealer is Tom Raper RV.  However, I don’t think you’ll go that far.  I do expect to see a tempting piece of bacon on a fishing pole.  I’m hoping for burgers and burritos under a wave of stars and stripes.  We’ll shout “go go go!”  And, we’ll heckle. 

A Bacon Hand Up at Eva Bandman
Boy will we heckle.  Because come February 4th, the sight of your European cross heroes blasting through the Eva Bandman sand, the chance to ring a cowbell in front of World Champion stripes, the opportunity to shout “Allez” in front of a real French rider, all of it will be gone.  The courses at Eva Bandman and Kings CX will return to the quiet dog walking parks they usually are in winter.  The barge traffic will be the star along the Ohio River.  Louisville will look ahead to the Derby.  The Cincinnati suburb of Mason won’t see another European athlete until the Tennis Masters Tournament.  You’ll go back to the gym and the Sunday group ride to once again day dream about the big day, the big race.  Only, there won’t be a race as big and as close for a long long time (Richmond in 2015.)

One Footer at Masters Worlds 2012
Still for some, sadly it’ll be too cold, too far, and they might have to pry open a frugal Midwest wallet to make the trip to (gasp!) watch other people ride bikes.  Oh yeah.  For the record football fans, no matter where you live in the Ohio Valley, the race will end right around 3:30pm Eastern, plenty of time to drive home before the Superbowl begins.

Set your excuses aside.  The days you’ve been dreaming about are here, a few days away with Kings CX in Cincinnati and the big show in Louisville.  World Champion Neils Albert and other European pros will mix it up with the best in the US.  This isn’t another UCI weekend, another USGP.  This isn’t a chance to see a European cross race.  This is a chance to see the biggest cross races, no, the biggest bike races you’ll likely ever see without a plane ticket to Europe, (California if you’re soft.)  For Sven Nys’ sake, you can’t miss this.  Because it’s not a question of whether you’ll experience something amazing, but what amazing thing you’ll experience.  

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